Ghost Stories

Ah spooks! A story about ghosts.

This movie is not to be confused with A Ghost Story, which came out last year, which I loved, which was very polarizing, and very indie.

No, this is Ghost Stories! Without the A article and the addition of the letter ´s´ things are quite different now. With this film, this British film, we are promised not one story, but multiple stories!

Maybe it is just two stories, maybe it is a hundred! With plurality, the sky´s the limit.

And of course, if this was called Ghosts Story, then it would be one story about multiple ghosts. Learn your grammar, folks.

Pair
This pair means two of them, although together, they may look like a single pear.

Professor Goodman (Andy Nyman) has a strange name, yes, but he is off to help people. How? By exposing liars! Liars and word thieves. You know, those who claim that ghosts are real, that want to deceive the public, or the ones that claim they can speak to dead loves, or even just psychics in general. Hell, he has a show to defraud them too, publicly, and has gotten himself famous.

He always dreamed of being this sort of researcher. Growing up he watched Charles Cameron (Leonard Byrne) on TV, who did similar things but more old school and subtle. However, he mysteriously disappeared at some point for decades.

Needless to say, sometimes the past comes back when you least expect it. And when it does, sometimes you are given three cases to look over and research, in order to really see if the supernatural exists and your exposing of frauds has been for naught. And sometimes your brain just wants to play tricks on you.

Starring Martin Freeman, Paul Warren, Paul Whitehouse, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, and Alex Lawther (who was in one of the best Black Mirror episodes, Shut Up and Dance).

Face
This hole covers its whole face and doesn´t look too wholesome.

I will give one thing to Ghost Stories. First of all, it is well shot, it is framed, it feels very sexy. The three stories are relatively intense, have their own levels of spooks and frights, but there is something missing.

A reason for these stories to feel more super serious than any other story is very much lacking. And they explain that eventually, but without knowing it ahead of time, it was just a gnawing feeling on me each time. Just like the professor, we aren´t sure why any of this matters.

Like I said, eventually we see why it matters, and that reason ends up being extremely lackluster. The ending of this film is shit. It feels like a prank. Like an edgy high school student wrote it without experiencing anything original in their life. I cannot describe enough how shit this ending is.

And honestly, if it could have just tied the stories for a good explanation and not just gone for some quick scares, it might have been worth something. The rating given is given only because of it still looking quite nice, having some nice moments, and honestly, Freeman was a blast in this movie.

2 out of 4.

Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare

April is rarely seen as the month for horror films. Usually it is the month for sports movies, or dramas, or I guess now super hero movies.

I hope Truth or Dare is successful, but while definitely going strong on the Truth or Dare aspect. I don’t want it to be an introduction piece and then oh no, killer, lets freak out. I need it to last the whole film.

I hope it introduces a franchise of party game horror films. I want to see the follow ups of Never Have I Ever, Spin the Bottle, Suck and Blow, and of course culminating to the film where all the pieces come together: Seven Minutes In Heaven.

Note, none of this relates to the movie Would You Rather, which came out half a decade ago. But they might try and remake it to add it to the fold, with a new, sexier cast.

Face1
I’d like to think part of the audition process for this film was to try and make that face naturally.

Down in Mexico, we have curses, because, Mexico I guess. Some sort of xenophobic nonsense.

Our hero of this is Olivia (Lucy Hale), a good person, she builds houses, cares about the greater good and all of that silly stuff. She planned on doing good things over spring break, but her BFF Markie (Violett Beane) sort of forces her to join them down in Mexico! Last Spring Break before their friend group moves on and gets old and less friendly.

They do things, have a great time, and eventually Olivia meets Carter (Landon Liboiron), an intelligent individual clearly, like her. They are about to leave but they agree to follow him to a cool place to have some more fun. Yay mysteries!

Sure enough, Carter gets the uneasy group to pretend to be middle schoolers and play a rousing game of Truth or Dare. Everyone goes around the circle, doing a dare or spilling their beans, until we learn the truth from Carter. He brought in the group to force them to join this game, to hopefully free himself from its cure. They are haunted now, and if they refuse the task given to them, then they will die. If they lie, they die. And if they refuse to play, well…

Starring as the rest of the main friend group: Tyler Posey, Sophia Ali, Nolan Gerard Funk, and Hayden Szeto. Also starring Gary Anthony Williams, Brady Smith, and Sam Lerner.

Face2
And here is another one for good measure.

You know what can make a good horror film? Believable actors, for one. The situations don’t have to be too believable. I can suspend my belief in a movie for scary aliens, monsters, demons, ghosts, ex lovers, possessed things, invincible serial killers, whatever. Sure. As long as it makes sense in that world. But if they introduce things and seemingly just change things on the go, and give no real fucks about the events? Well, that is shitty.

In this scenario, it takes far too much time for everyone to get on board with what is happening. I think two of the friends need to die before people start realizing that something bad is happening. We just get to watch friends argue and get mad about spoiling each others shit up with the truth. And afterwards? Well, it is mostly friends still being dumbasses as a group.

First of all, this movie is all over the place. With one of the dares that occurs, it feels like a really poor final destination movie, and then never really goes back to that concept. “Why don’t they just all say truth?” Well because they suck. And the movie wanted to add rules later on. This movie plays out the dumb scenario of turning a dare into telling the truth as well, just because. We have characters who over and over again get upset over the truth, but they know that if the truth wasn’t said, their friend would die. But who cares right?

The ending is the lowest point of the film, so its interesting they decide to leave us with a sour taste in our mouths. After a scene where our heroes try and get the upper hand, we find out that it still didn’t work as planned. Then they try one more plan which, as previously established earlier in the movie, won’t do shit for them at all.

I am going to put some spoilers here. The previous Truth or Dare group hoped that by putting new people in the group they would be freed. It did not, it just made it bigger. They still had to do the question just the others didn’t know about it. And despite being merged groups, they only bring up these facts when it is convenient, in lazy writing. For some reason one of them can’t do it if he is alone? Even though they have shown others have to do it when alone? For some reason order only matters for this group, and the others can just be asked when convenient for the plot? It basically shows that the two groups have their own games on it and don’t actually affect each other, meaning adding more people will not buy you any time, because your game is still limited to those players. And yet that is just what our “heroes” try to do at the end. Get more time. With this terrible, terrible, strategy, all they did was fuck over others, while also dooming themselves right after the credits role anyways.

It is just such a goddamn stupid movie. It is never really well established. When they exposition us enough in the film to try and piece it together, it just doesn’t really grok well. The strange face thing wasn’t good, wasn’t scary, and just seemed silly. So many jump scares that were pointless and lazy. And again, it is just very stupid.

I wouldn’t dare my worst enemy to watch even half of this movie. That’s the truth.

0 out of 4.

The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence)

Holy fuck. Today is the day. Today we have reached the biggest milestone yet. Because that is how numbers work, and each review is the biggest number yet, so of course milestone wise, that would increase as well.

Two. Thousand. 2000. Two thousands reviews on Gorgon Reviews!

I have been slacking a bit, mostly because I didn’t feel any inspiration, but my last Milestone Review was when I hit 1750, at the beginning of 2017, with the Resident Evil Franchise review. I figured that every 50 was getting me a bit burnt out, and most people didn’t care when they were that frequent. That is roughly one every 3 or so months. I figure after this one, I will just do every 100 a Milestone Review, to keep it fresh and fun for me.

But this is too much nonsense. I need to talk about the 2000th film. To catch you all up, I used to say that I didn’t review horror films, just to avoid The Human Centipede, which was popular when I first started writing. For my 1000th review, I changed all of that around and opened up the genre.

For my 1500th review, I did the second film, just as the third one was finally about to come out. And it made a lot of sense to me to make sure I saved The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) for when I hit this magical 2000 number, even if I really never wanted to see this film.

With all this backstory, I can say for sure right now that I have no idea what my 2500th film will end up being. I have nothing on the docket right now, but I have 499 movies to watch first before I have to make any hard decisions.

1
Hard decisions, like whether or not I need to make a human centipede.

In the second movie, the original film was just a movie. In the third film, the first two are both movies, and this one is totally set in the real world this time.

This time it is also set in a prison, in some Southwestern state. This is a prison of anarchy, of brutal prisoners, and a staff who doesn’t give a damn. Led by the Warden, Bill Boss (Dieter Laser), who yes, you would maybe recognize as the evil doctor from the first film. Don’t worry, that isn’t our only reunion! We also have the main assistant/accountant of the warden, Dwight Butler (Laurence R. Harvey), who was the sadistic security guard in the second film!

2
there are a few notable new people to the series though.

Don’t worry, this isn’t just a big sausage fest. We have a woman character! Her name is Daisy (Bree Olson). She is a secretary. She also has to give the warden blowjobs, gets generally sexually harassed all the times, is clearly just an object and not a person. And of course she is played by Bree Olson, known for her work in the adult industry.

Overall, this may have been better to be a full on sausage party. Then we wouldn’t have the unnecessary sexual violence against women also taking part in this movie.

3
And this time, the hammer is not his pistol.

Back to the prison. Man, these inmates are really pissed off at everything. In a mini riot, one of them stabs an officer, so the warden breaks his arm. That is the kind of justice they serve here. The prisoners unfortunately cause problem after problem, where the Warden decides on a whim what to do about it. Like random castrations, which he is happy to do personally. Or waterboarding but with boiling water.

Overall, the warden is a fucked up man. He has a jar of cut off Clitorises from Africa to snack on for strength.

4
Look, you came into this review knowing the movie would be a fuckshow.

All of these issues cause the governor of their state (Eric Roberts) to stop on by, demanding that the violence in this prison be put to a stop. It turns out that the prison has also been spending a lot of money, going almost bankrupt in the process, due to all their extra medical fees.

Good old accountant Dwight though has the solution. He has known for the whole film how they can save money, reduce fighting, and be heroes for the state! You see, Dwight is a fan of a certain two films, which are claimed to be scientifically accurate!

He just needs permission to turn the prison into one giant human centipede, and everyone will love them!

5
Do you really want to know where this blood came from?

No! There is no way this is plausible! It is just a stupid goddamn movie!

But Dwight insists. Hell, they even bring the director, Tom Six (Tom Six) of the first two movies (and yes, he wrote and directed this one) to be an adviser over the whole thing. He has ideas for them, as long as he can also observe and see it happen, because hey, seeing his film come to life would be cool.

They have other issues going on with this idea too. For example, prisoners eventually get to leave the prison. They cannot just make a permanent huge centipede. They have to be able to be removed from teh centipede when their time is up, meaning so taking out their knees, or permanently attaching mouth to anus. There are rules, damn it.

Good news, their doctors know how to make it all work, realistically!

6
Just needed a goddamn planning session, to brainstorm this shit.

Needless to say, the inmates were not too thrilled with the prospect of having to eat shit. They decided to show them that this is not okay, and have another riot! In the process, they messed up Daisy a bit too, and she certainly didn’t deserve any of that. She certainly didn’t deserve to be raped by the warden either, while in a coma after the fact.

I can’t even make jokes out of this shit.

But the film can, specifically shit jokes. Because not all prisoners are medically able to join the centipede. Due to weak blood, or constant Diarrheaing. But those aren’t real problems, they are just punishments for other people!

Either way, the 500 or so prisoners get put into the centipede! For those prisoners who have no chance at parole, they are put into an extra special Human Caterpillar, that doesn’t have those pesky limbs getting in the way of some good old fashioned mouth to anus action.

7
Caterpillar picture not included.

The governor shows up as soon as they are finished. He hears their pitch on how this will save them money on food, on walls, on staff, on riot induced hospital visits. Or even punishment based visits. And the governor is pissed. He thinks they should be locked up. They are certainly fired. This is fucked up, this is fucky, this is oh so so so so bad.

And they put poor Daisy in the chain accidentally, but no one except Dwight cares!

Just when the warden is going to go out in a blaze of glory, the governor has a change of heart. He thinks that it is swell and that they are geniuses.

Oh yay! Too bad that the warden still is a literal walking pile of feces, killing Dwight so that he can have the sole credit.

And now he can run his prison on his own, shirtless, firing his gun into the air and just taunting the prisoners with his loud mouth. The. Fucking. End.

Also featuring people like Clayton Rohner, Robert LaSardo, Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister, and Jay Tavare as inmates or doctors.

8
They also have some permanent scars so everyone knows you were once part of the prison centipede.

The third and so far final act to this franchise is over 100 minutes long and manages to do something the other films could not. It is for the most part NOT about a gross human centipede contraption. Seriously, it is over halfway through the movie before the accountant is able to finally tell the warden his ideas. That means we have 50 minutes of a warden just being an overall asshole, to other assholes, and we as audience members just have to take it.

And what is the goddamn point? The other films were terrible for focusing on gross aspects, while being worse than torture porn, and poor acting. This one has the poor acting, and seems to focus on MORE gross aspects, just a more diverse set than previous editions.

This film is strange in that it ends on a mostly happy ending for the person who did this to the people. At no point does this version feel scary, it just feels like a waste of time. Bad guy is comically bad, while doing gross things, until he does a bigger grosser thing, the end.

Oh, but again, this one has one woman character, who is used as a sexual object, beaten, and raped, just for the lols. It is downright terrifying in that manner, especially as it is always played as a joke, which is the biggest shocking points of this whole movie.

The third film in this franchise is indeed, different than the first two. But in the end, it is just a different bad way to waste an evening with. Zero. Fun. Sir.

0 out of 4.

The Babysitter

Generally, if you throw the word babysitter in a movie title, it now seems to allude to sexy stuff. Maybe that is because of the film a decade ago, The Babysitters, about sexy underage stuff.

But The Babysitter still has a similar theme going on. Attractive ladies, people who want to bone them, and sacrifices to the dark lord.

Oh wait wait, that last part is a bit different. Although, ritual sacrifice in film usually, strangely, comes with an air of sexual tension too.

The only film to go against this trend is Adventures in Babysitting, which thankfully, is very unsexy.

Tropes
This scene looks photoshopped.

Cole (Judah Lewis) is too old for a babysitter, and yet, he has one anyways. Seriously, he is now in high school. A freshman, but still in high school. His parents (Leslie Bibb, Ken Marino) sometimes take extended weekend trips to stay in hotel rooms in order to rekindle their relationship, and don’t trust their son alone. And he is a total straight up nerd, not like he would throw a rager.

But Cole doesn’t care too much either, because his babysitter is a total babe. Bee (Samara Weaving) is like a perfect human, with confidence, humor, looks, you name it. She is also down to earth and treats Cole like a real goddamn person, and not some burden. Sure she gets paid to hang out with him, but she seems to be the type to still find him to be a friend.

Convinced by his friend to stay up past bedtime to find out if she ends up having sex with a boyfriend when he sleeps, he instead finds a whole gang of people in his house. Normal, teenage stuff is mostly going on, until one of the group gets stabbed in the head, his blood collected, an unwilling sacrifice.

Holy shit. They are making deals with the devil. They also need the blood of someone pure, which of course means him. This is not how Cole saw his night going. He loved Bee!

Also starring Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee, Bella Thorne, Emily Alyn Lind, Andrew Bachelor, and Doug Haley.

Friends
Best friends, no romance at all? They should kiss.

The Babysitter is a very chaotic film and going for a specific audience: one that just wants to have a lot of fun. And honestly, it does feel like a lot of fun.

The film isn’t that long and it feels like it takes awhile to get to the point. But it is filled with dynamic and fun camera angles, making seemingly (and actually) boring events early on feel a bit more special. This is a throw back to the 80’s in terms of plot, but really it didn’t go 80’s enough. I mean, if you are going to do a ritual sacrifice for power to the devil, can we get a little bit of devil? Come on.

Instead we get upper aged teenagers having to carry out most of the evil deeds. Once this aspect of the film starts, it gets crazy and stays chaotic until the very end. It was highly entertaining, watching them try to get our main kid, dying in horrific ways, while also not just outright trying to kill him back.

I mean, these real people have some standards, you know?

Amell was the most hilarious of the group, totally doing better than many of his other recent works. Maybe it is just because he had his shirt off the whole time, and that appealed to my senses.

The Babysitter takes awhile to get really going, isn’t a great movie at all, but it is very, very fun once it fully embraces its plot.

2 out of 4.

The Strangers: Prey at Night

The Strangers was a really popular horror film a decade ago when it came out and I of course never watched it. Okay, I did see it last week, just to prepare for this sequel, to see why people were excited. There is a lot to like for those who want more realism in their films about people getting killed.

It was terrifying because it was set up as a completely random occurrence, it was something that could ¨happen to anyone¨ and not just people who drank or smoked or whatever. The bad people don´t have some strange backstories, hell, we never get to see their faces. They just torture, kill, and leave.

I watched that movie just to have some context for The Strangers: Prey at Night, and boy howdy, I am surely glad I did that. If I did not see the original, I would have never known just how badly this so called sequel actually was.

Gate
The lady in the back will help her fit through those holes.

This film centers us on a family going through turmoil. No, not people with knives, just teenage disobedience. We got a mom (Christina Hendricks), a dad (Martin Henderson), an older brother (Lewis Pullman), and our hero I guess, Kinsey (Bailee Madison).

Kinsey is a bit of a fuck up. Besides the underage drinking and smoking, she got into some serious problems over the last year and now her parents cannot deal with her anymore. She is going to boarding school, and they are all going to drive her down there. It is the last shot they have to fix her. They are staying the night in a trailer at one of their relative´s resorts, their last night as a family.

Oh, and then they find out that everyone is gone or dead there. And the three masked people are around, trying to spook them, or even kill them, or worse, sell them on the black market. Probably not the former. They just want to kill them for the lols.

Starring Damian Maffei, Lea Enslin, and Emma Bellomy as our masked killers.

Mommy
Fear is imagining the hardworking Hendricks as a boring stay at home mother.

Everything good and wonderful about the first film was thrown out of the window for this follow up.

There was one or so surprises in the sequel. I will give it that. Things that I didn´t think would ever happen did happen, so it gave some nice shock. But that was the only positive.

Instead of regular people getting tortured by seemingly regular people, we instead have a whole family being terrorized by superhuman monsters. They are seemingly invulnerable at times, including one of them near the end that just never stops. Suddenly the guy with the bag head is Jason I guess.

Not to mention their ability to teleport around this trailer park area. It is crazy how they always happen to know which house they are hiding in. They always have someone nearby ready to go, even if they were just at some other place. I am having a hard time typing it, but coincidence central could be this movie. The movie was better when it was a single house because it all made sense then. But a giant resort village? Yeah right.

This film feels like it was not meant to be a sequel to The Strangers, but they changed their mind and said fuck it for some of that sweet brand recognition. Everything that made the first film work was just ignored and left to rot.

1 out of 4.

Birdboy: The Forgotten Children

Birdboy: The Forgotten Children will probably be the last animated film I see from 2017. That is, unless some anime film I missed comes out in April or Summer, all late in the United States.

This too was a foreign animated film, based on a graphic novel. It was originally released in Spain (and Spanish), but the version I watched was dubbed.

I knew nothing about the film going in, except that it might be weird. And unfortunately, that too was an understatement.

Others
Yay animals! Time for a cute film!

This film takes place on an Island, far away from other lands. It had a peaceful animal community, that could talk, sure. Things were good, until factories joined their island. Eventually, the factories have an accident and a big blast rips through their island, killing hundreds, destroying the buildings in that area, creating rubble. No good at all.

This leads the land changed. It makes it sad. It makes it just feel, dead.

The families are now bitter. Kids are being non conformists, animals are fighting, animals are killing. And everyone is just rude.

Poor Birdboy, lost his dad, and can´t even get back to his lighthouse home. There are demons in there, and he hasn´t yet mastered how to fly.

He has friends, namely Dinky, a female mouse, are the only ones who care about him. She cares about him a lot. With the help of a fox and a rabbit, the gang plan to escape off of the island in a boat, to get away from this place of dissidence and sadness. But the island does not want them to leave. Its citizens are too bitter to allow a thing such as hope help anyone.

The four are going to struggle and face their fears, which is unfortunate, because in this case their fears are very real and dangerous parts of society.

Featuring the voices of Barbara Goodson, Jon Avner, Sofia Bryant, Dean Flanagan, Marc Diraison, Wayne Grayson, Yuri Lowenthal, Jake Paque, and Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld.

Fly
Learning to fly is also, unfortunately, a dangerous and very consequence heavy fear.

Yeah, Birdboy was weird. It was also terrifying. It was gruesome. It was nothing like I expected.

The only thing I know to compare it to is Heavy Metal, but that is based on my incredibly limited knowledge on this sort of animated film. And Heavy Metal was more sexy. We also had Nerdland recently, that was graphic in its own ways. This one is graphic in that it involves kid animals, in a disgusting world, dealing with entities trying to kill them and kill each other. We have bulging eyes, red veins, abuse, drugs, everything that would negatively affect a society, rolled into one tiny island.

It is definitely not for the light of heart.

It is a sad movie, with not really a happy ending either. Sure, maybe some hope is derived from it, but it is just a movie that will tear at your heart. Not like a romance, but like a horror, tearing at your heart.

And also, it is very, very confusing. I assumed the graphic novel tells the story a bit better. But there are sequences in this movie out of order, not a lot of exposition, and when I left I just felt confused. I did Wikipedia the plot outline, which is thankfully very detailed. I recognized some events and some scenes and could imagine them all working together, but it is not very easy to do that on your first viewing.

I appreciate that Birdboy is incredibly dark. I appreciate that the artistic style really draws you in and spits you out. I also appreciate that it tried to do something new. But in the end, it was not a very coherent plot, hard to follow, and left me feeling more empty than anything at the end.

2 out of 4.

Wish Upon

Sometimes it is really hard to remember all the genre specific films that come out in a year. Especially 2017 and horror.

When did Wish Upon come out? I don’t remember. I might have gotten an invite, but I don’t remember. Did I choose to not go, or was there something better to watch? Who fucking knows!

But at the end of the year, Wish Upon was already out, and I gave it a check because of the name and I knew that some shitty horror films had to be out there as well. And our star was not used to the leading role, but she was used to some horror films, so there was potential.

Chickfight
I bet the word viral is used in this movie at least twice.

Clare Shannon (Joey King) is your typical high school outcast. Small group of friends (Sydney Park, Shannon Purser), into some weird hobbies, sort of poor, normal stuff. Here mom (Elisabeth Röhm) committed suicide when she was younger, which haunts her occasionally. Her dad (Ryan Phillippe) has an embarrassing trait where he likes to dumpster dive for treasure for friends, but really it just makes him a hoarder and their house is a disaster.

And then one day, he finds a Chinese box that looks cool and leaves it in her room. She only dabbles in the language, and can see that it has wish on it, so for the lolz, she wishes this bully girl at school (Josephine Langford) will just rot away. And lo and behold! She gets a disease on her face and doesn’t return to school. Hooray!

However, this wish box has a deadly side. Every time it grants a wish, an entity the wisher knows will die. And if the wishes ever get used up, their own soul will be taken as well. But she doesn’t know Chinese, let alone ancient! And her old friend (Ki Hong Lee) can only help her so much, especially if she doesn’t listen. Time to wish for stupid stuff, consequences be damned!

Also starring Mitchell Slaggert.

Box
Behold, foreign mysticism as your villainous holder of items!

A horror movies where wishes don’t go as expected? That isn’t new at all. But these wishes basically work out well, except for the whole dead friends or neighbors or family members part. However, it takes way too long for the lead to realize the wishes are real, happening, and the box is the culprit.

By the time she for sure knows, she also knows she has seven max. She has done four of seven, and knows that she is running out, and that it brings danger to people. And she fucking wishes her fifth wish for school popularity.

It is so goddamn stupid. That is the sort of wish you can imagine in the first three, maybe, especially when testing to see if it worked. But at this point in the film, it is already clear the writers had lost their goddamn minds.

Wish Upon takes a regular story and tries to add some Final Destination elements to it. Because they quickly start playing up the deaths, so we can sort of guess and see how they will die. Or even WHO will die, as they show multiple characters in potentially deadly circumstances. But they feel cheesy and not scary, unlike the FD franchise.

And really, the ending is horseshit as well. This is a horror film about a girl of below intelligence, who thinks she is above average intelligence, and then some people die.

0 out of 4.

Mom and Dad

When I sat down to watch Mom and Dad, I did not know I was sitting down to watch Mom and Dad.

It was a secret screening at the Alamo Drafthouse, apparently everyone there knew what was happening except for about me and five or so others, due to inner circles and all. I learned it was by Brian Taylor, who did the Crank films, Gamer, and the second Ghost Rider.

And believe you and me, if someone had told me before I bought the ticket, before I showed up, if I knew what it was and what it was about, I definitely would not have wanted to come.

Island
A whole film about rich people eating breakfast and arguing?!

Brent (Nicolas Cage) and Kendall Ryan (Selma Blair) have been married and together for decades, so of course they have two kids. Before hand, Brent used to be quite the wild guy. Sowing his seed, driving his muscle car, loud music, athletic and more. Kendall had career aspirations, travel plans and general life goals, but then out came Carly (Anne Winters).

One wasn’t enough, and they waited way too long because they also had Josh (Zackary Arthur) many years later. So much that Carly is a sophomore in high school now, and Josh is confusingly aged. I mean, I guess he isn’t in kindergarten yet, but also, he is clearly like 9 or 10. Odd.

Needless to say, both kids can be buttholes. They have ruined their parents lives by merely existing. The daughter is stereotypically bitchy and hating of her parents, the boy is just super annoying, messy, and ruining his dad’s stuff.

This is a lot of introduction to say, that HOLY SHIT. SOMETHING HAPPENS, A TERRORIST ATTACK, BIOLOGICAL OR TECH, WHO KNOWS. But the instincts that parents have to protect and go to great lengths for their kids, get reversed, so that they only want to kill their kids, at all possible, no regrets at all.

Yep, a lot of family on family death is about to go on.

Also starring Joseph D. Reitman, Lance Henriksen, Olivia Crocicchia, Rachel Melvin, and Robert T. Cunningham.

Mad mad
Nicolas Cage at his cage-iest.

Since the birth of my daughter, parent/kid things in film, heartfelt moments and the like, they have all made me sadder. I cry all the time. When I found out where this movie was going, I was absolutely horrified. I mean, could I handle it? Did I need to get up and leave?

In reality, I only really needed to put my hands in front of my eyes in frightful anticipation only a few times, but especially during the hospital scene. The flashbacks in the film were very helpful, breaking up the very fast pace of the film, to give us some strangely touching scenes with Cage/Blair.

Okay let’s back up. Early in the film, you could tell something very strange and new was happening. The shots were so quick and dynamic, with lens flares, for seemingly regular ordinary things. It really put the viewer on a state of panic early on, even if there was only one bad thing to happen at the start. It helped lead up to the dread and panic that was to come, allowing the viewer to transition nicely into the full on freak out mode.

And let me iterate, I think the idea behind this film is terrible. And terrifying. Extremely fucked up. It took me many months into 2017 before I reached the most fucked up film of that year (mother!), but I can’t imagine anything topping this one, and it is two goddamn weeks into the next year! The reason I am mainly giving it a higher review because it definitely frightened me, it made me feel, and it didn’t get extremely exploitative at the same time.

Oh, some exploitative, sure. Just not extremely exploitative.

3 out of 4.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

I am frequently reminded that I should be watching more of Yorgos Lanthimos‘s movies. And not just because he is a guy who keeps bringing some out.

My first experience with his film was The Lobster a year ago and it definitely was an experience. I hadn’t seen any of his previous work, but The Lobster was so far out there that I knew this was a director who wanted to do his own thing and not give a shit about what people thought about it. This is the same thought that Terrence Malick must have, but I don’t like his work.

And now he has The Killing of a Sacred Deer, which is wonderful on its own thanks to the trailers. They told me nothing about the movie, but it was visually sexy and clearly different from The Lobster at the same time.

I really should get around to watching Dogtooth, but he has another movie coming out next year, so we will see if it ever happens.

Spaghetti
Damn right you eat that spaghetti now. Don’t want it falling out of your pockets later.

Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) is a really good surgeon. Well, most surgeons are good. I only assume he is good because he is rich, and surgeons are generally rich after they pay off those loans. He has a wife (Nicole Kidman) and two kids (Raffey Cassidy, Sunny Suljic), the typical American household and life. Everything is going so swell.

Steven is also friends with some boy named Martin (Barry Keoghan), who is older than his kids. Martin is a bit slower developmentally, but he lives with his mom only. He had a dad, but the dad died several years ago in a car crash, and Steven has been sort of a mentor to Martin ever since.

But Steven starts to act a bit stranger than normal, and he has already been a strange kid. After introducing Steven to his family, strange events start to occur to his family. A paralyzation affects his son so that he cannot walk and all of the big fancy doctor tests cannot tell them why. That is only the beginning of the problems that affect their family and it seems to have to do with Martin. But why? Why is the big question.

Also starring Alicia Silverstone and Bill Camp.

Think
This might be right after his heart was with a text message.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a quiet film with an unsettling plot behind it, that I chose to not fully reveal. Given the choice our main character ends up making it is something ripe for sadness and anger by many viewers. Good, good, let the emotion flow out of us.

I honestly had no idea where the movie was going on, and once the plot gets fully revealed (which is does VERY quickly and seemingly out of nowhere), every moment gets a little bit scarier. Keoghan has one of the more punchable faces I have ever seen in film, true here and in Dunkirk, but it really works with the character they created. He is unnerving, but not in a cartoon villain sort of way. I will say the film didn’t really do enough to explain his actions or his own mental capacity, so it should definitely be dinged for these reasons.

But let’s just say, some shit is up, it affects this family quite unfairly, and we have to watch most of a film as they deal with shit that continually escalates until a final decision is finally reached. After all the build up, the ending itself was pretty shocking when it came to the hows, the whys, and the whos, but it also makes sense in an eerie way. After all, it is an eerie movie about some people with some strange feelings about reality, so it is also fitting.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a creepy film with some horrifying moments, but one that could have been better with a lot more backstory and explanation when it comes to a few characters. Less can be more, but I think this film had too much less.

3 out of 4.

Raw

2017 was a great year for horror. It exceeded my generally low expectations for the genre. It exceeded in a way that is inverse to the way that animation was a disappointment.

So I was a bit suspect of finding another good horror film after all the rest. But Raw looked really good despite knowing very little about it. I knew it would make me uncomfortable, it would have gore, and has shit ton of blood.

Heck, I didn’t even know it was a French film until it started and I got blasted with subtitles. Adding the foreign element is what made me realize early on that maybe it could also be great, because I knew America must have reached its peak.

Blood
There hasn’t been this much blood in a film since Army of Darkness. Which is arguably British.

Justine (Garance Marillier) comes from a very uppity family who expect good things out of her. She just got accepted into veternarian school and is excited about making the world a better place for animals. Her older sister, Alexia (Ella Rumpf) has already been there for a year and will help her get situated. Oh, and her entire family is vegetarian, they have been her whole life, and that is obviously relevant to the plot.

Now in France, I am led to believe that getting into a specialized school like this one is sort of like getting into a fraternity in America. They have hazing for the new recruits and a rush week, but it isn’t really optional since it is just everyone in the school. They have to submit, or else. As part of the submission, they get dumped with animal blood before important photos and are also forced to eat raw rabbit kidneys as part of their initiation.

So Justine doesn’t want to do that, she has NEVER eaten meat, and she doesn’t want to start now. She tries to get her sister’s help, but the sister denies their vegetarian upbringing and eats a kidney, so Justine has to as well. This does not go well, as she immediately feels sick. Hell, she ends up getting some sort of food allergy symptoms as well from it. No good.

And yet, his opens up something in Justine. She starts to crave meat, but made a big deal about being a vegetarian as well. So her gay roommate (Rabah Nait Oufella) tries to help her sneak this new obsession without others noticing. But it isn’t enough. Justine is constantly hungry, constantly looking for more and more. And you know where this obsession is leading.

Also starring Laurent Lucas, Joana Preiss, and Jean-Louis Sbille.

Face
Keep working on the Andrew W.K. cosplay little girl.

(Don’t say it, don’t say it, don’t say it) Raw felt like a very authentic (whew) tale about, well, some cannibalism. Not a lot of cannibalism, just some. It had human emotions, it had great realistic actions from unrealistic situations, and the whole thing just felt raw. Fuck, I made the pun. That didn’t last long at all.

But seriously. I didn’t even know Raw was French when I went to see it. I have heard it hyped for a half a year and just assumed another indie horror film that gets rave reviews. It is good to see another country coming up strong with new ideas.

Raw has a some gross scenes and they just happen sometimes so unexpectedly it will take you by surprise. It doesn’t shy away from sexuality and hazing, normal college experiences, it just adds some extra human elements. Again, please understand I am referring to the eating of humans.

Raw is gross, it is creepy, it is well made, and yes, it is raw.

3 out of 4.

1 2 3 17